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GT Grade X Gravel Bike Review

GT Grade X gravel bike review 2024

Fresh into Australia, the newly-revamped GT Grade models are in stock in select retailers around the country. Most notably it features a new frame design that puts the famous GT triple triangle to possibly it's best use case ever, being mostly a visual element on most of GT's bike range for many years.

As I've mentioned before in gravel bike reviews; front suspension, 1x drivetrains and dropper posts are better-suited to the more mountain biker end of the gravel rider spectrum; rougher gravel and offroad terrain, singletrack, steeper ups and downs.  So this model is definitely geared towards that end of the spectrum, but keep in mind that gravel bikes are made to be the "everything bike", so although it might have a few features that skew it towards that end, it still can cover the full range of gravel from commuter, fitness and road bike alternative to heavy offroad, singletrack and sand pits.

Two of the other Grade models in the 2024 range feature a more practical double chainring drivetrain and rigid fork. The Sport model has a single chainring; mostly a cost-related choice than an offroad feature on that model.

The Ride

After some time on this bike I'm quite surprised at just how compliant the rear end is over rougher surfaces. GT claim 30mm of rear travel with their custom blend of carbon and fiberglass in the unique seatstay design, and it does deliver, surprisingly the same amount as the Cannondale Topstone Carbon models with the Kingpin Suspension and pivot.

My first ride out was a 40km loop near Dromana and Red Hill south of Melbourne and we did many kilometers of dirt road with exhausting corrugations and some singletrack that was littered with hard pine tree roots and rocks. A great first test!

Frame & Fork

My body happily wandered in & out of the corrugations without the normal jolt one would expect from hitting them at speed and the bike maintained control even at higher speeds, high enough speeds that the eyeballs couldn't focus from the shaking. I've ridden other brand, rigid gravel bikes that have totally lost the ability to brake or steer in those circumstances. The combination of Rockshox Rudy air suspension fork and frame compliance is a total win for anyone looking for a comfortable ride over any adventure.

GT Grade handlebar comparison


One thing stood out immediately as a shortcoming on this bike, maybe an oversight from the product manager, but a serious one nonetheless; the handlebars. This will be the first thing to change for me. Ugh. The round profile bars give little real estate for the hands and after riding a bike for the last year with flat top bars, it was a rude awakening. The bartape, one of the easiest things to change later, will also be swapped out for a grippier and slightly thicker 3mm tape for additional cush. A bike that leans towards the more offroad side of the spectrum probably needs to be specified with parts geared towards more bumpy terrain, the handlebars being the first thing you touch, and the feel of this part needs to match the rest of the bike.

Dropper Post

The Trans-X dropper post is one of my favorite additions to a gravel bike, and I'm glad to see this bike coming with one out of the box. Kudos to GT for this. As a mountain biker, I'm accustomed to changing seat height as often as I change gears; a little down to pedal through rough stuff, slam it for a descent, back up for a climb or smooth stretch of road. Super handy. In this case, the 50mm travel is a little on the short side on the size medium I'm testing. The Discover dropper from Shimano is 70 and most others are 70-100 for the 27.2 sized "road" dropper posts, so the usable range on the longer posts I find more suitable. Still, only a minor gripe. The integrated dropper lever into the left shifter is a cool feature: clean, easy to use.  Love it. This only works on a 1x system, though, so not possible with a bike running 2 chainrings up front.

Wheels & Tyres

The original alloy wheels are a bit heavy I found, but for the price, a decent spec. I shaved a bit of weight and gained some tyre volume with a tubeless setup on a pair of wider Shimano GRX870 carbon wheels and WTB Riddler 37c TLR tyres. The bike came originally with 42C WTB Resolute tubeless tyres, a great spec, but maybe a bit much tread for my personal taste and where I ride. The tyres are one of the easiest things to change on a gravel bike to move it along the spectrum to more MTB or more as a road bike, so I really don't get too attached to original tyre spec on any bike given they are sold the same in every country and every type of terrain around the world.


The Apex 1x11 drivetrain with 11-42 cassette and 40T front chainring is a little wanting on the super steep climbs (19-22%), but the light weight of overall package makes it palatable. The 40x11 high gear is a bit low on the fast descents, but what you give up in range, you gain in simplicity and low weight of a 1x system as a whole. Most of my riding is rolling paths & roads with only the occasional steep climb & descent, so I prefer the closely-packed gears in a 2x system, but that's just personal preference.


The WTB Silverado is a great spec for a gravel bike. We are one of the busiest shops in Melbourne for bike fitting and the similar WTB Rocket and Volt are our go-to saddles for gravel and MTB riding given their shape, level of cushion and durability. The meaty nose for riding forward on steep stuff, wide/flat platform for solid sitbone support, channel for relief on the perineum, a slight hammock in the middle for staying in position while pedaling and the rounded back for getting low & behind the saddle... They're just great saddles. Another kudos to the product manager behind this bike.

Overall Take on the GT Grade X

I happily recommend this bike as a solid off-road capable gravel bike. The vertical compliance of the frame is top notch, the geometry handles tougher terrain while managing to behave very road bike-like on bike paths & paved surfaces or in a paceline. The handlebar spec needs some attention if you want the comfort, but the dropper, suspension fork and feel of the bike makes it a very well-spec'd bike for the money. I'm looking forward to a solid year of gravel on our Wednesday night ride, in VIC High Country and around the Bayside suburbs on Sundays.

In Australia the GT Grade X retails for $4799, overall one of the best bikes for the money in this category, scooched up at the more MTB end of the gravel riding spectrum.





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